Did I actually fail myself? We went out last night with the intention of getting rid of by old car. It barely made it to the dealership without stalling on me again. I even had to stop on the side of the road and turn it off to let it rest. But I finally made it. It was a long night of no-haggle and haggle. We left the first dealership and made one last stop. We found the same exact car at both dealerships. However, I must confess they weren’t hybrids. I was still looking at the Honda Accords but I found that the 2005 models were MUCH less in price than the 2007 hybrid that I was looking at. I honestly couldn’t see myself spending close to $10K MORE just to have my hybrid. Of course…that was what I thought last night when I ASSUMED that this new car was better for the environment than my old car. This morning I visited www.fueleconomy.gov and entered all of the information in on my old car, my new car, and the hybrid I was looking at. I was SHOCKED by what I saw.
The website breaks it down into different categories; EPAs estimated MPG, actual recorded MPG, carbon footprint, air pollution, barrels of gasoline consumed annually, and more. I was shocked that my carbon footprint was actually HIGHER with the new car. However my MPGs are slightly better (not much) and my air pollution rating was greatly increased. So it’s not a total loss…but it defeat my main goal of reducing my carbon footprint. My old car (2003 Dodge Stratus) had a carbon footprint of a 5.8 after I adjusted the miles driven each year and the city/highway miles since I am primarily a city driver with low miles annually. The new car (2005 Honda Accord) received a carbon footprint rating of 6.1 after the same adjustments were made. How can that be? I know exactly how that can be…I was greedy and had to have the V6! My old car was just a 4-cylinder.
I did feel a little better when I calculated my husbands 2007 Honda Ridgeline 4WD with a carbon footprint of 8.1. However, he does drive his old 2000 Honda Civic around much of the time which scored a 4.5. I’m glad he hung on to that old thing for so long.
What would my carbon footprint have been if I had gotten the hybrid I was wanting? 4.7. Is that worth $10K? That is the primary question I have to ask myself. All I can say is I’m a little sad this morning because of my decision. (From the greedy American…it’s beautiful inside and fully loaded!)
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Sorry that I’m responding to such an old post, its been awhile since I’ve read through your blog 🙂 But I wanted to sympathize with your issue, since I had the same thing happen to me when I bought a car a couple of months ago. My old car was barely driveable with it stalling multiple times per driving trip, and with the headlights going out at random (eek). I finally started car shopping, and I couldn’t help but consider investing in a SUV. Both John and I have had small size sedans, and I can’t tell you how many times we wished we had a larger vehicle for certain occasions. I looked into the hybrid SUVs, and they just cost way too much, even the used ones. And the gas mileage in SUV hybrids aren’t even that great! I even looked at some hybrid sedans, but the cost there was even a little too much to bear on my budget, and I still wouldn’t be getting the utility feature I was looking for. After much deliberation, I decided to go with a new Jeep Liberty. I was happy that it wasn’t a Hummer, but it certainly ain’t no Prius. I feel better that I still do my part by being as green as I can when it comes to transportation, I still rarely drive by using public transportation and taking advantage of living in the city where everything is super accessible. The truth is, cars just cost way too much to not be 100% satisfied with your purchase. So I guess when it comes to being green, you do what you can, and sometimes you just can’t do everything. But you should at least be happy that you are doing something, and I think you do more than anyone I know 🙂